Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Racism downunder

April 27, 2012

 If there’s one thing that pisses me off from time to time, it’s how some Australian’s treat foreigners. While of course it doesn’t apply to everyone, there are definitely underlying currents of racism running beneath many ‘white’ Australian’s. Typically these people are our own form of ‘trailer trash’, that we affectionately (and I say affectionately with tongue firmly in cheek) refer to as ‘Bogans.’ Bogans are utter trash, and unfortunately everywhere.

You know that tattooed guy on the train who’s drunk as hell and absolutely stinks of alcohol, abusing people around him? Yep – bogan. Those two young feral girls swearing their heads off in public and talking about playing ‘spot the aussie’ while in the middle of a town with a large Asian population? Yeah – bogans. Those guys parading up and down the shopping centre with no top on and using an Australian flag as a cape while intimidating the Asians as they walk by them on the Australia Day public holiday? Correct! Bogans. 

These people are my least favourite part of living in Australia. It was actually refreshing living in China as there

was absolutely none of this element. While walking the super populated streets of Wuxi at night, the people were completely normal. Minding their own business, wandering around shopping and dining. There were no in your face abusive drunk idiots – and man was that refreshing.

Of course that element is also not so prevalent in Australia that it’s a day to day problem – I have definitely over-emphasised it – but it is there none the less.

I was reading this article this morning about some Chinese students who were bashed by a gang of teenagers in Sydney. These poor guys were not only beaten, but robbed while their attackers said things like, “They’re Asians, they have money,” and other fairly hideous acts such as burning them with cigarettes. I would bet any money that these people who attacked them were aforementioned bogan scum. It is seriously not cool as most Chinese students I know or see around the place, are about the most non-threatening, harmless people anywhere. I can only imagine the terror they felt at the hands of these ferals. Thankfully it appears they were arrested.

There were problems last year with similar happening to Indian students, where they were attacked and robbed for no reason, all the while being racially abused. In the case of the Indian students, there was uproar back in India, and the same is happening now in China. Even old Kevin Rudd has dusted off his Foreign Minister hat and has been posting sympathetic comments in Chinese on various Chinese social media sites.

Old KRudd all across the Chinese social media

Australia most definitely is a secure country. You do not need to walk around looking over your shoulder or worrying that something like the above might happen. However, like in ANY country anywhere (including India and China), you also have to be aware of your surroundings and not take unnecessary risks. It is possible that these Chinese students were simply unlucky, but it did occur after midnight – and well, if you want to exponentially reduce your chances of this kind of thing happening, avoid travelling too late at night.

Anyhow, there is my 2 cents.

Culture fear.

June 10, 2010

Recently I was surfing around in Google trying to work out why there is such a large Chinese population in my town of Box Hill. Melbourne is well-known for being a multi-cultural city, where as you walk around you will encounter people from hundreds of different nationalities. Many suburbs are likewise known for their heavy cultural influences, with towns being known for their Greek, Italian, Vietnamese centres.

Box Hill is one of several areas which are becoming dominated by Chinese – in fact; I would go so far as to say that the Chinese are already the majority there. As you walk around the main shopping areas, you can and will feel like the minority.

It has made me curious how so many people of the same heritage end up in the same location. Is the information spread through China via family networks? Are there webpage’s setup somewhere in Chinese with help for would be immigrants, pointing them to this particular town? Or is it something more traditional, such as what Courtney was saying the other day, that Box Hill’s distance from Melbourne’s CBD is a culturally significant number. Anyone who is remotely familiar with Chinese culture will know that many numbers have very large, spiritual meaning to them. So while this last option might sound silly to you or I, to a culture like the Chinese, it’s a valid reason.

While I did not find an answer to this question, I found a link to this page. The following article is from the City of Whitehorse’s (contains Box Hill) local paper, reporting on a Facebook page which has been setup under the name, “Playing Spot the Aussie in Box Hill.” Basically this refers to there being so many Asians in Box Hill that it rarely to actually spot ‘normal’, ‘white people.’

The page had attracted 12,000 members, the creators of the page denying that it is racist, and in reality just a ‘simple game.’ Of course there were also the typical keyboard warriors, slagging off at anything and everything Asian as when people are cloaked by anonymity they suddenly become idiots as perfectly illustrated in the Penny Arcade Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory below.

 

Regardless, it seems that whenever people are faced with excessive numbers of another culture that they don’t understand, their natural instinct is to fear it. I can understand this to a degree as previous to living in China, while not particularly familiar with Box Hill, I did see it with different eyes. To me it was simply a run-down suburb, full to the brim of Asians. I had no affiliation with the culture, nor any particular desire to change that. However, once I lived in China, all of that changed.

On my return to Australia, both Courtney and I moved specifically to Box Hill to maintain that link with the Chinese culture. We had unwittingly formed a bond with the country which continues to thrive within us. To us, Box Hill is a bustling, interesting suburb, where the Chinese influence only enhances what was formerly a very drab town. The Chinese are friendly and polite as a people, yet often very reserved and shy when dealing with ‘foreigners’. It cracked me up to hear myself referred to as a ‘laowai’ or ‘foreigner’ in my own town, but at the same time, I don’t remotely feel offended.

I couldn’t feel safer when walking the streets of Box Hill, as when there are large numbers of Chinese, they are completely normal people, going about their daily tasks – not the scary ‘other culture’ that people make them out to be. At night, the town is always jumping, full of large groups of Chinese families and friends going out to dinner. In fact if you substituted all of those Chinese with Australians – you’d have a very different story. From a harmless, fun, almost festive atmosphere, you would have drunk, Bogan louts.

Box Hill is full to the brim of some of the most delicious, cheap eating anywhere. If anything, myself and all us other non-Chinese who visit our favourite haunts several times a week, it’s actually a bonus that more people don’t realise what it has to offer – not unlike Victoria street in Richmond and it’s famous Vietnamese strip.

Ultimately, Box Hill is a fantastic city, only made all the better by the Chinese culture which now inhabits it. All those who cry about ‘invasion’ from another culture, or the opening of the immigration floodgates, are living in the dark ages.


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